I often wonder, are the feelings I have toward my stepchildren normal?
As women, we question ourselves so much. We question the way we look, the way we dress… the way we do basically anything.
My daily thoughts since becoming a stepmom have changed A LOT. Is what I’m doing going to negatively affect the children? Why am I so tired? How can I help them understand?
Things stopped being about me and started becoming more about the children’s lives. Things were no longer superficial.
I often asked friends who have children if this is what it feels like to be a parent.
Complicated Emotions of a Stepmom: Is it Okay to Miss Them?
Seeing my stepchildren learn something new and feeling a crazy sense of pride… I didn’t know if these feelings were okay.
Admittedly, I still battle these thoughts. Sometimes I look at the children and feel like I’m looking at my heart walking around outside of my chest. Is it okay that I feel this way even though I am not their biological parent?
Further, is it okay to miss the kids when they aren’t with me? I’m not their biological parent, so why does part of me feel so lost when they aren’t here?
Why do I feel like my heart is walking around in the world without my guidance and love?
I miss the pitter-patter of little feet running around my house, especially when it’s early in the morning. I miss hearing my name being called every 2 seconds and even the children asking their Dad where I am.
I even miss the heated discussions we have about dinner, because no child really wants to eat their vegetables, do they?
I especially miss seeing the smile on my partner’s face and the infectious giggles through my house. I miss the sound of matchbox cars zooming around my living room floor and the laughter when I do something silly without meaning to.
Who knew that I would even miss cooking dinner and making lunches? The compliments from a child saying what I made was “beautiful” may just be enough reason to miss doing those things.
I often look around my house and see the kids’ toys or see something online, or even a TV show, that makes my heart ache a little.
Maybe it is okay.
I have come to the conclusion that when you are a huge part of someone’s life, and they are a huge part of your life, it is more than okay to miss them.
It’s okay to wonder what they are doing and hope they are having a good day. It’s okay to wish they were there with you.
I didn’t always feel that way. I thought it was wrong that I missed them. I thought I was crossing all sorts of unwritten boundaries. Being a stepparent doesn’t come with a manual. Stepmomming is different for everybody, and no two families or stories are the same.
Missing the little people in your life goes to show how much love and affection you have, which is a beautiful thing.
If I am missing them in ways I can’t describe, I can only imagine how my partner feels. Even though it may only be a day or two, not knowing how the children are doing can incite concern and worry.
Easing the sadness of missing them.
The best thing to do if you find yourself worried is to keep busy. Surround yourself with people who will support you. Talk to your partner about it. I have been known to draw pictures or write the kids letters to give them when they return home. Recently, I have even started baking surprise treats, just to see the kids smile.
Use the things you see that remind you of your stepchildren as conversation starters. Even though they may not always be in your care, they are still always on your mind and in your heart.
When they return home, I never fail to tell them that I missed them while they were gone, but I hoped that they enjoyed their time.
Don’t always make things about the other people in your life; you need to do things for YOU. Self-care is the key. Read a book, eat a chocolate bar, or soak in a bubble bath embracing the quiet before you’re bombarded with the chaos that little people can bring.
Always remember that you have to look after yourself before you can look after anybody else.
Go out for a date night with the person you love, and enjoy your coffee while it’s hot. When the children are around, we often put all of our energy into them and forget about ourselves. Take the time apart from your stepchildren to take care of yourself.
I like to remind myself I’m very lucky to have two special someones in my life, even if I have to miss them.
It’s okay to miss the little people you care about so much, Mama. There is no rule restricting how much love and concern you can give the special people in your life.
P.S. Still not convinced? Here’s how to make the most of your time away from your stepchildren!